Prediction of the conformational requirements for binding to the κ‐opioid receptor and its subtypes. I. Novel α‐helical cyclic peptides and their role in receptor selectivity

Nathan Collins, Victor J. Hruby

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13 Scopus citations


A conformational search of two similar κ‐selective cyclic Dynorphin A (Dyn A) analogues is presented. Dyn A1–11‐NH2(1) and Dyn A1–11‐NH2 (2) are not only highly potent κ‐selective peptides but they also exhibit exceptional selectivity for κ receptors in the central (brain) vs. the peripheral (ileum) systems. Molecular mechanics systematic searching of the conformational preferences of the cyclic moieties of 1 and 2 produced 741 and 1003 starting ring structures, which were minimized at two dielectric constants of 2.0 and 80.0 in the AMBER force field. By rms superimposition, these low energy structures were grouped into conformational families for each ring system minimized at each dielectric. Comparison of the lowest energy structure of each of these families demonstrated that two (labeled A and B) were found as low energy ring systems for both 1 and 2 after minimization at either dielectric constant. These two structures are thus predicted to be the putative binding conformations for Dynorphin A at receptors in the brain. Interestingly, one of these putative binding structures exhibited an α‐helical conformation in the disulfide bridged ring that has not been observed for small cyclic peptides of this nature before. Molecular dynamics simulation of the helical binding structures indicated that the helical configuration in 2 is lower in energy and is more confor‐mationally stable than that of 1. We correlate this with the increased selectivity and potency of 2 for κ receptors in the brain compared to the periphery, implying that this may be due to an α‐helical conformation in the cyclized address or helical induction in the message sequence. © 1994 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1231-1241
Number of pages11
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1994


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Biomaterials
  • Organic Chemistry

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